Monday, December 11, 2006

Four Weddings and a Funeral

I know, it's a cheesy film (the kind I love to watch on my own with pyjamas and lots of chocolate) but it seems to be such a relevant theme to life at the moment - part of the reason why this blog has perhaps been overlooked for too long. The weddings are ok; a fine excuse for a new pair of shoes and over indulging in Champagne.
The funeral bit, well that's a different story.
Grief is a strange thing; many people have written about it, but no matter what they may say, there simply are no rules. It is, of course, far, far, worse to go through it yourself, but to stand alongside someone and try to support them through it, seems that there are even fewer rules. The hardest thing is that if the loss is not immediate, time returns some sense of normality to life so much faster. It is just too easy to bumble along with out much change and therefore, to act and feel stupidly ignorant about the sense of loss that someone right next to you returns to on a daily basis. I'm not suggesting for a moment that it is harder to support someone who is grieving than to go through it, far from it. However, as someone who reguards themselves as pretty sensitive I'm shocked to find that I seem to be permanently wearing size ten hobnail boots. More to the point I feel like a callous cow, not because I am, but because I'm not going through the grief and someone I love is.
The weddings, well, there have been four this year. What a strange irony. Perhaps there was 'something' to the film after all. Perhaps all families should double check that they don't manage to book four into any one year on the basis of a new fad superstition. Perhaps I am talking absolute rubbish.
The most recent was my brothers. I'm just back from London, and just recovered from the hangover. It was very beautiful and very much everything that I would never do myself. An even bigger irony it took place in one of the churches used in the film that this posting alludes to. The duck face one, with the punch. It was a beautiful church, very gothic cloisters; the sort that I fully expected Dumbledore to peer forth from at any moment. Not so nice was the long walk that I had to take to the lecturn for a reading. I've never had any desire to walk down an isle myself, and was acutely aware of the sound of my heels as I clattered along, even more paranoid that people might be watching my bum. Turns out that I was right about that; all of my brothers friends admitted to that once the wine started to flow. Seems their perception of me fifteen years ago as the very scary big sister was finally blown away; I'm glad about that. I never was as scary as they all thought.
The ceremony was very religious with a vicar doing all of the 'assunder' and 'troth' bit. It seemed so much more impersonal than my Mum's registry office wedding earlier this year. There was such depth and emotion to the words spoken there. Similarly, the funeral. It was a humanist ceremony and so much more moving because every word spoken was absolutely unique and personal. Words are just so bloody powerful. I have never been a devout Christian, so perhaps that is why religious language leaves me so cold. Not the songs - they are always beautiful - but the organised traditional ceremony 'script'. It just does not seem to convey anything personal to the people involved.
Back to the old words and audience theme. It does matter. The bible contains some very beautiful writing. But the interpretation of it all I just don't understand.
When asked to do a reading at my brother's wedding, I found a beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti. The vicar said no. So I read a verse from Romans as instructed. Just makes no sense to me. The Rossetti poem would have actually meant something to my brother and his new wife; rather than imploring them to 'service the lord'.
There really is so much power in words, particularly at poignant times.

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